7mth Puppy with a Spinal Subarachnoid Diverticulum
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Thread: 7mth Puppy with a Spinal Subarachnoid Diverticulum

  1. #1
    dawnaston is offline New to the Village
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    Oct 2017

    Unhappy 7mth Puppy with a Spinal Subarachnoid Diverticulum

    Hi everyone

    I'm hoping to lean on any experience anyone has with subarachnoid diverticulum (SAD) in pugs......or any dogs.
    There seems to be very little knowledge online and so the guidance on what's best to do is so hard.

    Our puppy is just 7months and so full of love and life and happiness, but he's a bit wobbly on his back legs. He's not in any pain, it's almost like he's being lazy not using them properly, but we've had an MRI scan and it's now definitely SAD. This is like a cyst that blocks brainwaves from his brain to his feet. His legs and feet are fine, they work and are strong, but they don't get the signal from his brain telling him how to use them. He can use them, and does, but occassionally forgets and flops a bit.

    From what I understand, there are a few options;
    1 - Medication - Seems to have a poor result/outcome
    2 - Physiotherapy - No knowledge of whether this is any good
    3 - Surgery to remove the 'cyst' - Works sometimes, not everytime, and the 'cyst' could come back in as little as 6 months!

    So far the MRI and consulation costs are at 2,000, and the surgery could be another 5,000. We only have insurance cover for 5,000 so will have to somehow find this extra if we go for the surgery. It's just so worrying when it seems like he's so happy and healthy, and surgery could paralyse him. I think temporary paralysis is a definite, but the surgery could actually paralyse him as well.
    Then the cyst could grow back again, and we have to go through this surgery debate again, and it could keep coming back.
    He's 7 months old, it's just so unfair, it's the hardest thing we've ever had to consider.

    I think there are test that show surgery is 70-80% positive result. Which sounds fantastic, but if it's the 20-30% outcome for my little Bruce then we chose to do that to the poor fella. Or worse what if he has to spend his early years having annual operations?

    Ugh sorry to vent and question so much, it's just horrible to think about, we love him so much.

    If anyone can help with advice about the surgery, other options, results from their own experience, costs from their own experience for surgery, any bit or realistic advice would be hugely appreciated, our vet is very knowledgable but not guiding us in to a preferred option and I get that they can't make the decision for us but we need a bit more help.

    Hope you guys can help!

    Thanks so much xx

  2. #2
    shaynapug's Avatar
    shaynapug is offline True Village Royalty
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    Oct 2005
    Berkley, MI


    I bred a dog that had it YEARS ago. I talked to the puppy owner about the surgery. At the time, it was $3000 and he'd already spent a fortune finding out what was wrong with him! They said recoup time was long and it could grow back again. It was decided not to do it. He went to a cart eventually.....When he lost Argo, I replaced him with another boy that lived a long time!

    That had to be 15 yrs ago. I'm sure that lots has changed.

    Your boy is young, as was Argo. No matter what the decision, I know that you will make the right one. IF you decide on the surgery...he may have many healthy years to live.

    I do have a friend that has an older pug that was starting to lose her rear. She did stem cell replacement and it worked really well. Am not sure if that it would help in this situation, but it's worth looking into!

    I'm sorry you're going through this!

    Pug hugs!
    puglover22 and Rugbysmom like this.
    Shayna Pugs
    Chairperson of PDCA Rescue Committee

  3. #3
    dawnaston is offline New to the Village
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    Oct 2017


    Thanks for sharing this! Do you know how old the pup was when they discovered it and then how long before it got it's cart?
    How old was the dog when they finally lost him?

    Thanks again!

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  5. #4
    Wonka & Nilla's Avatar
    Wonka & Nilla is offline Village Dancing Jitterpug
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    Oct 2005


    I have no experience with this condition so I can't offer advice. But I wanted to send you some positive vibes and best wishes for you and Bruce. I can imagine how awful it is to have to consider such a surgery on a young pug.
    Village Moderator

    Mom to Miss Jelly Bean "Beanie" Licorice Pug
    Forever in our hearts:
    Miss Nilla Sassafras Pug August 17, 2002 to April 19, 2018
    And my Heart-Dog...
    Wonka the Dancing Pug, CGC, W-FD, W-TFD.
    Februrary 11, 2005 to May 10, 2020. Miss you, sweet boy!

  6. #5
    Snifter's Avatar
    Snifter is offline Moderator/Village Merchant
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    Dec 2005
    Essex, England


    I'm so sorry to hear about this and I have no experience of this particular condition.

    Have you seen a specialist about this? I am assuming you have since he has had an MRI and regular vets don't normally have that sort of facility. However, for all I know it is your normal vet who is proposing to operate. I personally would be wary of this and would want a specialist to operate if I chose that option. You have much more chance, in my view, of being in the 70-80% success bracket if you have a surgeon who has done a few of these operations before.

    I do have experience of a young pug (age 3, not a pup) having major surgery. (His gallbladder ruptured and it was touch and go for a while.) Luckily he was at the specialist hospital at the time. The specialist was up front about costs at all times, and the estimates were pretty accurate so we knew what we were in for and there were no surprises. At the time we had only 4k insurance cover, which we whistled through, and spent another 3k + before everything was OK. We have had to deal with more surgeries since. The overall experience I have is that much though you want them at home as quickly as possible, they actually do much better medically if you can keep them hospitalised for a bit longer. It depends on the dog's personality of course, but caring for a dog after major surgery is hard initially. However keeping a dog hospitalised obviously increases the costs, so that is a consideration.

    Whilst a vet or specialist can't guide you to a preferred option in so many words, I have always found that the specialists gave us a good steer. They would give us the options, and the chances of success with each, but were always very happy to discuss quality of life issues with us.

    Wishing you and your boy the very best.

    Pug hugs.
    Rugbysmom likes this.

    Bella, mummy to Snifter and Toddy!


  7. #6
    LilyFayre's Avatar
    LilyFayre is offline Village Tea Pug
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    Jun 2015
    Hertfordshire, UK


    Hi - so sorry to hear about your poor baby.

    The only knowledge I have of this condition was watching an episode of The Supervet on TV recently where a pug named Betty Boop was operated on by Dr. Colin Driver at Fitzpatrick Referrals. It seemed totally miraculous that this little pug girl who was already partially paralysed dragging her back legs and totally incontinent made a full recovery after the surgery.

    Here's the article on it The Supervet Betty Boop - The Supervet
    Last edited by LilyFayre; 10-31-2017 at 02:33 PM.
    Bree, Xanthe and Darwin

  8. #7
    Rugbysmom is offline Village Royalty
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    Jan 2011
    Moses Lake, WA


    Just wanted to send along my hugs, prayers, & positive thoughts that your precious little guy can be helped! Whatever course of treatment you decide upon, will be the right one! And everyone will be here with lots of help & support, so please stay with us & keep us posted on how your little one does!

    Rugby 7/10/02 - 9/28/15 Miss you, little girl! You're always in my heart!

    Molly DOB: 7/6/04

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